The Brooklyn Nets (3-8) would look to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves (7-6) Friday evening in what would be Kevin Garnett’s first game against his former club while in a Nets uniform. Brooklyn entered the game taking the loss in their last 4 outings. Though Kevin Garnett used to be the guy running the show at the Target Center, Minnesota fans have found a new power forward in Kevin Love. Love has proved to be that superstar for the Timberwolves all season long. Unfortunately for the Nets that would not change in Friday night’s matchup.
The Nets continued their recent trend of being outperformed by opponents in the first quarter. Tonights first quarter deficit was 16, the worst so far this season. One would think the Nets would have figured out a way to get hot early in this game against the offensive juggernaut that is the Minnesota Timberwolves, but shots just were not falling for Brooklyn. Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston’s combined field goal percentages in games continues to drop from a lousy 25% in a Wednesday loss to the Bobcats to an abysmal 10% against the T-Wolves. With a team that is already plagued with injuries, offensive slumps are the last thing the Nets need. Joe Johnson played a decent game finishing with 15 points. Andray Blatche was also a bright spot in the 30 point loss (111-81) leading the team with 16 points.
The T-wolves are beginning to finally translate their offensive success into wins this season with Kevin Love leading the charge. It was a team effort for Minnesota with the entire starting lineup scoring in double figures. Kevin Love had the most impressive line of the night for the Timberwolves finishing with 17 points and 16 boards to be paired with 4 assists. Ricky Rubio had 8 assists in the victory, a total that is more than the entire Nets team compiled Friday night. Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic would also help their squad in the trouncing of the Nets scoring 17 and 15 points respectively.
One of many things the Nets desperately lack is ball movement. Tonight’s team total of only 7 assists was a perfect example of how much ball movement the Nets do not have without their star point guard on the floor. The T-Wolves finished with 28, a shocking 4 times more than the Nets. If Shaun Livingston continues to struggle, don’t be surprised to see him taken out of the starting lineup in favor of shooting guard Alan Anderson (One of Brooklyn’s only hot hands) in order to maximize the team’s offensive output. This would mean there would be no real starting point guard in the lineup. Shaun Livingston hasn’t been much of pass first point guard in his career. But after a night like tonight missing all seven of his shots from the floor, have the Nets really had a point guard on the floor while Deron Williams has been injured? If a change occurs, expect Paul Pierce to increase his ball movement responsibilities in the next few games.
Kevin Garnett would go on to tell reporters after the disappointing loss “Everybody’s frustrated” and continued to say “I don’t think there’s a happy person in here or a guy who’s smiling. There’s nothing to be smiling about right now” (YES Network).
Maybe even Coach Jason Kidd will suit up. With the lack of ball movement so far this season, it wouldn’t hurt to have the soon to be 41 year old on the court.
The Nets(3-9) return home tomorrow night to take on Brandon Jennings and the Detroit Pistons(4-8).